Fruit Trees

I am now the proud owner of a whole bunch of fruit trees.

We already had productive apple trees on the property which probably should be pruned more aggressively. Kelly has since planted pawpaws and has her garden. I haven’t had pawpaws in forever. They sometimes, but rarely, will show up in the farmers markets and they’re usually expensive as sin. The death of the traditional farmers market is a whole other post, but suffice to say there isn’t one around here that isn’t a supermarket without a storefront. This can be good, health regulations and all that, but it can be bad too since the more exotic stuff now is on a friends-only basis. New Jersey (ugh) is the last state to really entertain the roadside stand, but you can go out to Gilbertsville and visit Zerns Flea Market. The West Chester Farmers Market tends to be crap and it’s typically a victim of the fact it’s not permanent.

Home Depot’s garden club had sent out coupons for buy-one-get-one trees. For expensive trees, like Japanese Maples, this could be a steal. However I have very little use for maple trees – they occur naturally in our flower beds and we’ve got two seedlings I’ll probably transplant into the woods when I get bored and it’s less wet. I had considered trying to terraform the woods with a weeping willow. I figured it would dry the ground out but the likelihood of this is slim to none. Also being a park back there I don’t want to put expensive trees outside the property line.

Kelly and I went there last night on a whim since the coupon was about to expire and found out most of the trees had been picked over. Left were a few apple trees, a few peaches, nectarines and “fruit cocktail” trees. Home Depot does a decent job of labeling what is self pollinating and what is not self pollinating. But here’s the cool part – the apple, peach and pear trees are not self pollinating, but both the “fruit cocktail” trees and more importantly the nectarines are graft trees and thus are self pollinating. We grabbed a nectarine and a fruit cocktail tree, which turned out to be three types of pears. The self pollinating thing is a boon or a bust. It’s great value for the money (buy one “tree” instead of two) but it also means half the area for producing fruit as two trees = twice the fruit. We own enough land to make use of these but I also want to grow other stuff (like peaches) so buying the grafts isn’t a bad idea.

Grafting isn’t hard, but the official forestry guide doesn’t make it look easy. I actually plan on growing a lemon tree and grafting another lemon tree to it, both to speed production and make it self pollinating. Lemons, like oranges and grapefruits, typically take 15 years to fruit. Then again maybe I’ll just say F-it and pay for a fruit cocktail tree of lemons, grapefruits and oranges. At the rate we’re going, I’m going to retire and become a farmer.

Looks Like Scotland

Oh how I love the fog on the Scottish Moore.

Wait, this is my backyard. I wish I had found the better camera, but without the polar filter on my phones camera, it makes the fog… foggier. However it also means I couldn’t take a picture of the really cool ray of light which broke through the clouds and shown like a golden ray into the woods. I half expected an angel to walk through the back gate and to hear heavenly voices singing in the bathroom.

Foggy Forest in the backyard.

This is the archery target in the back yard.

I kind of like the funky lowfi thing and may build a shoebox camera, but where do I get the film developed?

Weekend Plans

Oh, why was traffic backed up this morning? Oh look I can see my house. More here.

Now what I find interesting about the news is that it was originally reported as a “road rage incident” involving “two cars” and insitgated by the silver buick. Then I heard there was a shooting at the turnpike EZPass lane and I had literally just passed through there about 3 minutes ago, so I stood on it. The news sounded typical, 20 to 30 year old black male blah blah blah blah. The new reports say “middle aged man driving buick lucerne”. I’ll be really curious if this is an incidence of whitewashing or what and where he’s from.

The BBC Talks About Preppers

Apparently it’s unheard of in the UK to fathom the breakdown of social services. Yes folks, we’re not even 100 years away from world war 1 or 2 and the UK has forgotten the boyscout motto: “Be Prepared”.

The BBC’s article seems good and decent until you start reading it. Some of the things which really piss me off is they call the two month food loop an “investment”. It’s not. A proper food loop (something I can safely say I don’t have) has a rotating stock of cans so you’re eating what you bought two months ago. The food shouldn’t ever be more than two months old on the canning loop. As the food ages, you rotate it forward and eventually at the two month mark, you eat it. Two months in a can is about long enough for you to make sure the canning was done properly anyway. Me and my wife actually plan on canning from our garden come this fall, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the supermarket.

Another point – “The pros and cons of owning a gun”. Frankly I can’t think of any, and knowing people who went to New Orleans and enjoyed the finest firefight the city had to offer – I think we can safely put the “owning a gun” thing to rest. It’s never an issue of owning a gun, or a car, or anything else. It’s always an issue of how safe it is as it ages and how much fuel you have for it. Running out of ammo is going to be the prime concern here.

Finally, woodstoves in Europe are almost a given. They seem to think it’s unheard of here in America. While not as mainstream, it’s not like they don’t exist. In fact just about everyone on my street has a wood stove, coal stove, fireplace or insert. We have oil service and that means being prepared to not being able to run the burner. But, we also live in the woods. Wood grows on trees here and a woodstove makes perfect sense. I’m not sure why the BBC knocks it.

Babies and Woodstoves

Alex is finally sleeping eight hours a night if we feed him at the right time. Managing food is important, it’s worth it to feed him smaller amounts during the day to get him to sleep at night.

The more I play with the woodstove idea in my head the more I realize the correct way to do it is to go through the living room wall and into the garage. This means there’s going to be an elbow in the install but I don’t imagine it’s going to be insurmountable. So why the garage?

For one, the garage has fireproof drywall on the other side of it already installed. For two, if we change our minds later we don’t have to redo the floors and ceilings. For three, if I put a cleanout T at the elbow, cleaning it out becomes a matter of opening the bottom of that, taping a garbage bag to it and running a flexible sooteater or similar spinny-brush device up there to clean it. It keeps the mess out there. Finally, god forbid we have a fire, it’s much better it be out there than in the house.

Is it up to code? I sent an e-mail to the township codes office asking if I needed a building permit and inspection and if it were up to code. We’ll find out.